(1641 - 1712)
(Born: Mancetter, Warwichshire, England, 1641; Died: London?, England, 25 March 1712) English physician.
Grew was the son of a clergyman and schoolmaster. After an early education at Coventry, he received his B.A. from Cambridge in 1661. He then received his M.D. from the University of Leiden, and returned to England, opening a medical practice first in Coventry then in 1672 in London. Because of Grew's interest in plant anatomy, he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, where he came in contact with many notable scientists, including Robert Hooke. Through Hooke, Grew was introduced to techniques of microscopic examination, which he used in throughout his scientific researches. Today, Grew is principally remembered for his outstanding contributions to plant anatomy, which were collected together and published in his The Anatomy of Plants (London, 1682).
Biographical references: Allibone, Dictionary of English Literature, 1859-71. • Arber, A., "Tercentenary of Nehemiah Grew (1641-1712)", Nature, 147, (1941), 630-2. • BBA: I 486, 159-185; I 486, 158. • Carruthers, W., "On the Life and Work of Nehemiah Grew", Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society, 129, (1929), 129-41. • Catalogue of Portraits of Naturalists: 505-6 [2 portraits listed]. • DSB: 5, 534-6 [by C.R. Metcalfe]. • Le Fanu, W.R., Nehemiah Grew, M.D., F.R.S.: A study and bibliography of his writings. Winchester, St. Paul's Bibliographies; Detroit, MI, Omnigraphics, 1990, xvii, 182 p. • Munk, W., The roll of the Royal College of Physicians of London. 2nd edition. London, 1878. 3 vols. • Poggendorff: 1, col. 952. • Waller, Dictionary of Universal Biography, 1857-63. • Watt, Bibliotheca Britannica, 1824. • WBI.
Musæum Regalis Societatis, 1681
1. English, 1681 [Collection catalog].
[Contained within a double rule box:] Musævm Regalis Societatis. | Or A | Catalogue & Description | Of the Natural and Artificial | Rarities | Belonging to the Royal Society | And preserved at | Gresham Colledge. | [rule] | Made | By Nehemjah Grew M.D. Fellow of the Royal Society, | and of the Colledge of Physitians. | [rule] | Whereunto is Subjoyned the | Comparative Anatomy | Of | Stomachs and Guts. | [rule] | By the same Author. | London, | Printed by W. Rawlins, for the Author, 1681.
2°: A6 B-Z4 Aa-Zz4 Aaa-Ddd4 2A-2E4 2F2; 224l.; , 1-386, , 1-43,  p., frontispiece, 31 plates (one folding). Page size: 315 x 192 mm.
Contents: [Frontispiece].; [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [4 pgs], Dedication to "The Royal Society," signed N. Grew.; [3 pgs], "The | Preface."; [2 pages], "A Prospectus of the whole Work."; [1 pg], "Presenting Royal Society Resolutions about Grew's Catalog."; 1-384, Text.; 385-386, "Appendix. | Of some Particulars lately given by Dr. Christopher | Merret."; [1 pg], "An Index of some Medicines."; [1 pg], "A List of those who have Contributed to this Museum: | excepting some Names which are lost."; [2 pgs], Blanks.; [2 pgs], Title page of appended work, "[Within a double rule box:] The | Comparative Anatomy | Of | Stomachs and Guts | Begvn. | [rule] | Being Several | Lectures | Read before the | Royal Society. | In the Year, 1676. | [rule] | By Nehemjah Grew M.D. Fellow of the Royal Society, | and of the Colledge of Physitians. | [rule] | London, | Printed by W. Rawlins, for the Author, 1681.", verso "An Advertisement to the Reader."; 1-42, Text.; 43, "Some Notes upon the Tables."; [1 pg], Blank.; [At end], 31 plates.
Plates: Frontispiece shows an engraved portrait of the head and shoulders within an oval frame sitting on a petestal. Text at the bottom of the plate reads: "Daniel Colwal Armiger Musai Regalis | Societatis Fundator." Tab 1, 5 figs. of skulls and an armidallo. Tab 2, 6 figs. horns, bones and rhinoceros hide. Tab 3, 4 figs. Tortise shells. Tab 4, 2 figs. skelaton of crocidile and elephant tusk (folding). Tab 5, 3 figs. storks bills. Tab 6, 4 figs. head of albatros, eggs and bird's nest. Tab 7, 5 figs. fish. Tab 8, 5 figs of fish and starfish. Tab 9, 8 figs. of shells. Tab 10, 9 figs. of shells. Tab 11, 10 figs. of shells. Tab 12, 9 figs. of shells. Tab 13, 13 figs. mostly of beatles. Tab 14, 8 figs. of seed pods. Tab 15, 5 figs. of seed pods and nut shells. Tab 16, 11 figs. of nut shells. Tab 17, 3 figs. of gourds and an acorn with leaves. Tab 18, 6 figs. of sponges. Tab 19, 7 figs. of teeth. Tab 20, 11 figs. of various stones. Tab 21, 7 figs. of marcasite and gypsum crystals. Tab 22, 6 figs. of copper and iron ores. Tab 23, 4 figs. of stomachs of weasels, cat and fox. Tab 24, 4 figs. of stomachs. Tab 25, 1 fig. of stomach. Tab 26, 3 figs. of stomachs. Tab 27, 2 figs. of stomachs. Tab 28, 2 figs. of stomachs. Tab 29, 4 figs. of stomachs. Tab 30, 6 figs. of stomachs. Tab 31, 2 figs. of stomachs.
Scarce. Early collection catalog of the Royal Society of London's natural history specimens. This book contains relevant early botanical and natural history observations, and many of the plates depict minerals, crystals, shells, fishes, birds, insects and animal fossils. Many of the specimens, particularly the plants, were American in origin, especially from the West Indies. In fact, the first 386 pages comprise a detailed catalogue of the natural history specimens owned by the Royal Society and then housed at Gresham College. Grew divides this portion of the work into four parts: (1) animals, including human rarities, quadrupeds, serpents, birds, fishes, shells and insects, (2) plants, including trees, shrubs, herbs, mosses, mushrooms, and plants of the sea, (3) minerals, with descriptions of stones, including bezoar, corals, fossils, gems, metals, salt, amber and other sulfurs, and (4) artificial matters, including things related to chemistry and natural philosophy, mechanics, coins, and medicines. Appended at the end is another treatise on the comparative anatomy of stomachs and guts which is an early classic in the field. Some of the plates show specimens relevant to this section.
A frontispiece engraving of Daniel Colwall (who, as mentioned, financially supported the establishment of the museum) and 31 engraved plates (also paid for by Colwall) comprise the illustrations. Of these, 18 show plant and animal specimens; included are various skulls and skeletons, tortoise shells, a rattlesnake's rattle, preserved fish, birds' nests, shells, starEsh, insects, nuts, sponges, and a specimen identified as "skin on ye Buttock of a Rhinoceros." Plates 19 and 20 show fossils (and two small chiastolite sections); plates 21 and 22 show mineral specimens (including calcite, quartz, gypsum, silver, copper, hematite, and what appears to be cerussite or pyromorphite); and plates 23 through 31 show stomachs and intestines.
The text is divided into four major parts: (I) Animals, (II) Plants, (III) Minerals, and (IV) Artificial Matters. All sorts of highly curious objects are represented: An Egyptian mummy given by Prince Henry, Duke of Norfolk; a human fetus; the "Throttle Bone of a male Aqui-qui" monkey; tiger claws; a stuffed "Pigheaded Armadillo", the "Horns of a Hare" ("So I find them inscribed," says the author, "Although it is probable that they are the homes of a small kind of German Deer"); a 7 /2 foot crocodile (stuffed); the leg of a dodo; more than 30 lodestones; a porpoise skeleton; butterflies; coins; and a wide array of scientific and mechanical instruments and devices. There is an index of medicines, and a list of donors.
The catalog gives a good view of the extent of mineralogical knowledge in England three centuries ago. Grew made a crude effort at categorizing the fossil and mineral specimens, firstly into three broad divisions: (1) Stones (fossils, gems, "stones regular," and "stones irregular"), (2) Metals (gold, silver, copper, tin, lead, iron, antimony, mercury, etc.), and (3) "Mineral Principles" (salts, "sulphurs" and "earths"). In the first division, he attempted to distinguish gems by their colors, "stones regular" by the external shapes, and "stones irregular" by their hardness. These distinctions served him poorly and resulted in an irrational jumble, but inasmuch as the proper tools did not yet exist for structuring a rational crystallochemical classification, he can hardly be criticized for his approach.
He then gives a brief description of each specimen. Although he had available very little established descriptive terminology, he plunged ahead, coining his own terms where necessary and drawing frequently on the pre-existing reference works. Grew's citations show that he was well-versed in the early mineralogical literature, such as it was. He refers regularly to Agricola, and also Johannes Kentmann (1565). Pliny, Tavernier, Gesner, de Boodt, de Laet, Robert Boyle and Kircher are all cited.
Bibliographical references: Le Fanu, W.R., Nehemiah Grew, M.D., F.R.S.: A study and bibliography of his writings. Winchester, St. Paul's Bibliographies; Detroit, MI, Omnigraphics, 1990, xvii, 182 p. • Murray, Museums, 1904: 1, 31, 44, 55, 59, 81 & 2, 267. • Nissen (ZBI): no. 1714. • Pritzel, Thesaurus Literaturæ Botanicæ, 1871-3: no. 3558. • Roller & Goodman, Catalogue, 1976: 1, 486. • Wellcome Catalog (Books): 3, 164. • Wilson, W.E., "Nehemiah Grew's Musaeum Regalis Societatis, 1681", Mineralogical Record, 22, (1991), 333-40.
2. English, 1694 [Reissue].
Museum Regalis Societatis or a Catalogue & Description Of the Natural and Artificial Rarities Belonging to the Royal Society and preserved at Gresham Colledge. Made By Nehemjah Grew M. D. Fellow of the Royal Society, and of the Colledge of Physitians. Whereunto is Subjoyned the Comparative Anatomy of Stomachs and Guts. By the same Author. London: Hugh Newman, 1694.
2°: A8 (lacking one blank leaf; the leaves of signature A are variously ordered in different copies, this one thusly by the Rectos: portrait of Daniel Colwal, Title, Dedication to the Royal Society, Epistle Dedicatory to Daniel Colwal - the only signed leaf, with mark A3, The Preface, The Preface continued, A prospect of the whole Work of the Musaeum continued), B-Z4 (B1 has t two inch tear that does not however affect readability), Aa-Zz4, Aaa-Ddd4 (Ddd3, blank, present), A-E4, F2. Between signatures A and B are bound thirty full-paged engraved plates and one folding plate of the marvelous and exotic subjects of the collections of the Royal Society. Page size: 315 x 192 mm. Very scarce.
Contents: , 386, , 43 p., 31 plates.
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